In 2 Corinthians 4 Paul writes about being “…pressed on every side, but not crushed” and “struck down, but not destroyed.” Despite his many sufferings he did not lose heart. These words seem appropriate to describe the situation at the Mantsonyane Parish of the Lesotho Evangelical Church in Southern Africa (LECSA) located up in the central mountains of Lesotho. That is where Mafa Secondary School is located. This small school currently consists of one old, dilapidated 2-room stone building.Read more
The joy comes in participating and witnessing healing, growth and new life. This is the core of the message of Jesus that is fully revealed during the Season of Lent and Easter. John 10:10 I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.Read more
“I will plant trees in the barren desert cedar and the acacia, myrtle, olive cypress, fir and pine”
Isiah 41:19 (Living Translation)
It was a day like any normal day in December. I was on my way to work in the morning driving through one of the beautiful areas in Nairobi. The landscapes, the houses and the manicured lawns could have been on the cover of “Better Homes and Gardens” magazine. As I admired the scenery the cars began to back up. Traffic jams are normal in Nairobi, but at this time of the morning it was unusual for cars to be backed up this much. What is that I see? Cows? The road, the sidewalk, the lawns everywhere you looked there were cows. Some grazing on the manicured lawns while others blocked the road while two young herdsmen with a stick trying to get the cows off of the road. This was a usual scene in the middle of the suburbs of Nairobi. I knew that this was a sign of things to come. When the Maasai (ethnic group in Kenya) herders walk their cattle for miles from the Ngong hills to the suburbs of Nairobi this can only mean that the country side was in a serious crises of lack of water. No rains meant they had to find grass to feed their cows, and where better to find grass? At the “Homes and Garden” manicured lawns in the suburbs of Nairobi.Read more
Sheldon Ward Williams
August 15, 1936 – February 14, 2017
When sharing the news of my move to Cape Town, I pause to take in the shear excitement and awe that people convey to me. In response to this news, I’m often given a list of tourist activities to partake in and various sights to visit. Many tourists share their stories of unparalleled relaxation and breathtakingly beautiful accommodations while visiting the motherland. To them, Cape Town is paradise. However, scores of South Africans who struggle daily from the unaddressed injustices that flow from apartheid see this land quite differently. Accordingly, travelers who look underneath the city’s glamorous surface learn of the often-unreported realities of Cape Town citizens who live in unspeakably horrible conditions.Read more
Lectionary Selection: John 11:1-45
Prayers for South Africa:
God of Grace.
God of love, peace, and everlasting healing,
We thank you for the hope that you enrich us with on a daily basis. Even for the new mercies that we see every morning.
Bless us with the energy and the resolve to proclaim and live your love and your justice throughout all of our experiences and encounters. By your grace and mercy, make it possible for humanity to feel your holy and healing power through our collective ministry. We pray that through our ministry your redemptive love will restore broken lives in every corner of the world, and particularly among the women of Ons Plek in Cape Town, South Africa.
We know that your love will overcome fear and your mercy can restore life and hope to every segment of the world where people live in squalor and in misery. We ask that you restore broken lives and mend fragmented families through the work of Ons Plek. Give continued strength and wisdom to the staff of Ons Plek that they may be agents of transformation and joy for the young women of Ons Plek and their families.
We ask these blessings in the beloved name of Jesus, Amen.Read more
May peace and prosperity be a part of Congo’s 2017!
As we renew ourselves and our missions for 2017, it is beneficial to reflect back over the past year on the challenges and successes! These reflections guide me as I continue to work hand in hand with the Congo Protestant University (Université Protestante au Congo - UPC) initiating and implementing projects. After a year of political uncertainty, I am again amazed at the resilience of the Congolese people to insist on moving forward with their daily lives. Their tenacity can be a lesson to us all!Read more
Mary Schaller Blaufuss, United Church of Christ Global Sharing of Resources Team Leader, just returned from a trip to Lesotho and South Africa. She was there attending the African Christian Health Associations Platform (as part of the UCC's work with IMA World Health) in Lesotho. While in the region, she visited the CWS Africa sub-office in South Africa and witnessed their work with refugees. She also visited with Global Ministries partners in South Africa and Lesotho and with our mission personnel in Lesotho, Mark Behle.
Christian Care implemented the low input gardens (LIG) project as part of efforts to reduce the rate of malnutrition in Chipinge district. One hundred nutritionally vulnerable households were selected to participate in this project. The basic eligibility criteria was that the households should have at least one member who fit into the following categories - pregnant and new mothers, families with children under the age of five, persons living with HIV/AIDS, persons living with Tuberculosis, or persons with disabilities. In some circumstances, further economic and livelihoods indicators considered for eligibility into the program. The main objective of the project is to increase the quantity and variety of mineral rich vegetables available to the target group and improve knowledge of nutrition. The major activities of the last year include: training of trainers on Low Input Gardens, cascading training to the participants by trainers, planting and maintaining seeds and crops, and conducting nutrition awareness campaigns to increase awareness on the importance of a healthy diet.Read more
“I urge…that requests, prayers, intercession…be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority…”
(1 Timothy 2:1-2)
For being such a small country and having less than a million registered voters, you wouldn’t think there would be many political parties in Lesotho. But you’d be wrong. Parties have proliferated in recent years. Many of them have been formed by splitting off from existing parties or by disgruntled politicians who have quit their party to form a new one. Currently there are around 25 parties and every week the papers have no shortage of political stories and drama to write about. In November some members of parliament from the ruling coalition broke off to form a new party which, according to most observers, left the coalition without a majority. Parliament was suddenly adjourned “indefinitely” before a vote of no confidence could take place. Last week parliament finally reopened and the opposition is pressing hard to see that a vote soon takes place. The uncertainty which has become the political norm here lately continues to reign.Read more